By Dr. Melanie MacIver
This lovely plant is a cardiovascular tonic extraordinaire! It has been used for hundreds (thousands?) of years to support the heart, blood vessels and circulation. Unlike pharmaceuticals, herbal tonics are unique in that the same plant can have opposite actions. For example hawthorn can be used to either increase or decrease blood pressure, depending on what the body needs. Herbs are intelligent this way.
Hawthorn grows here locally as a shrub or a tree, and the berries are perfect for harvesting in the fall. The blossoms and leaves also have similar medicinal properties. Try harvesting the flowers in the spring and the berries in the fall. Hawthorn can be used to support the heart muscle, to balance blood pressure, cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, weak blood vessels, and any issues of circulation. It is full of antioxidants and helps with connective tissue regeneration, and can even help to mend a broken heart.